Far gone are the days of when buying cannabis was simply buying a bag of weed to get high. Today we live in a cannabis friendly world where there are dozens and dozens of ways to consume cannabis, each way offers its own unique experience and benefits to consumers. Smoking cannabis extracts has become increasingly popular over the past several years, offering precise dosing, vibrant flavors and most importantly a focus on the several cannabinoids found in cannabis.
THC extracts have become increasingly popular due to modern technology, from extraction methods to various new innovative smoking methods, the demand for cannabis extracts in Canada are at an all time high… From Kief to Live Resin, here we break down everything to do with cannabis extracts.
What are Cannabis Extracts and Concentrates?
When identifying what a cannabis extract, cannabis oil or cannabis concentrate is, it’s important to remember that these fall under an umbrella term. It’s important to remember that all cannabis extracts are concentrates, however not all concentrates are considered extracts. When a cannabis concentrate is created it’s through a mechanical method which collects the cannabis trichomes, while an extract includes an additional step of using a solvent to collect the trichomes from the cannabis plant. In technical terms a cannabis concentrate or a non-solvent is a cannabinoid product that is created through a mechanical process using C02 without heat and pressure or the use of water vegetable glycerin, vegetable oils, animal fats, isopropyl alcohol or ethanol. A THC extract also known as a solvent based is when a cannabinoid product is made using C02 with high heat and pressure or the use of hydrocarbon based solvent to extract cannabinoids from the plant material. For example when trying to identify an extract vs concentrate, hash is considered a cannabis concentrate due to the fact that it uses mechanical methods to remove the trichomes, while a BHO wax concentrate is an extract because butane is used to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes.
Types of THC Extracts
When converting cannabis into a concentrated form or THC extract, the most important step is to extract the cannabinoids of the cannabis plant and condense it into a pure substance. There are two different ways you can extract the cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, you can either extract THC using a solvent or extract THC without using a solvent. When extracting from the cannabis plant the most popular way involves using a solvent, which provides precise dosing and the highest possible quality one can achieve during extraction, but this process requires professional equipment and professional knowledge and should only be attempted by experts. Solvent-less methods are less complex and more natural but do not offer the same results you get using a solvent when extracting THC and cannabinoids. Overall the end result when extracting THC is a highly superior product that enhances a better taste, terpene retention and overall purer product.
Kief (Dry-sieve Extraction)
A dry-sieve extraction requires taking dried cannabis plants and rigorously shaking and beating them using a mesh screen. This allows for the important trichome crystals to fall off the plant, through the mesh screen and collected into piles. This process results in what we know as Kief, which is commonly found in the third compartment of a grinder. When using Kief it can be smoked on its own, mixed with dry flower to enhance the strength and effects or used to be pressed into hashish. When preforming this extraction method Kief usually holds a THC value of around above 30-50 percent. This is a perfect way on how to make cannabis extracts in your home.
Water/Bubble Hash (Water Extraction)
Water extraction is the extraction process used when creating both water and bubble hashish. The process entails adding cannabis plants into sieve-like bags and submerging and stirring them into freezing cold water. When the plants interact with the cold water the stirring motion causes the trichomes to fall off and fall through a tight series of collection screens. When the trichomes are collected it results in both kief and hashish that can be dabbed or smoked with cannabis flower. THC extracts like range in the 50-70 percent levels.
Rosin (Press Extraction)
Rosin is a popular cannabis extract that can be made DIY at home. This buttery shatter like product is created with no additives or solvents, instead heat and pressure and used to extract the trichome resin located on the cannabis plant. Rosin is often created by many in their homes using a hair straightener, broken down dry flower and placing the cannabis between the two pieces of parchment paper then pressing between a preheated hair straightener. This will result in a waxy oil that can be dabbed or added to cannabis flower. This produces a THC extract with a THC level between 30-60 percent. This is a great option on how to extract THC from weed and how to make cannabis extracts at home.
Butane Hash Oil (BHO)
Also known as BHO or butane honey oil there are several different concentrates that fall under the term Butane Hash Oil. Butane hash oil is a marijuana extract that is created when butane is forced through cannabis plant material. This solvent based extractions is when cannabis flower is placed in a receptable tube while butane is forced through, which then strips the cannabis plant of its cannabinoids. Once the extraction process is complete the plant matter will be no more, all that remains is a high percentage of cannabinoids and terpenes which provides high levels of THC extract, taste and flavor. This process yields anywhere from 60-80 percent THC producing popular extracts such as:
Shatter/ Wax: is a solvent extract that has very versatile texture and the beginning stage for other THX extracts such as budder and crumble. Shatter visually looks like brittle glass which is very fragile and can shatter on contact… hence the name. It can also provide a elastic like property. Shatter is most commonly consumed using a vaporizer, dab rig or water bong. This is one of the most widely available types of BHO and arguably the most popular extract on the market. Haute has over 25 premium shatters for you to choose from and is the best site to buy weed online, each with its own unique flavor and euphoric effect, check them out over on our Shatter page.
Live Resin: Is another popular THC extract with a unique creation method. When extracting for live resin the cannabis plant is cut from its growing medium and then quickly frozen. Then plant then it extracted in very cold temperatures due to the plants high water content from being frozen. Then it extraction process is done in a below freezing room with a butane and a clode-loop extraction system. Live resin is similar to wax and shatter as a solvent is forced through the plant matter. THC content can range between 80-90%, this however is not the main focus of live resin. Live Resin is about the preservation of the terpenes and the flavors you experience when smoking it. Head over to our Live Resin page for all your favourite live resin strains and best weed deals.
Budder: starts as a shatter but is altered by agitating terpene-rich shatter into a creamy like texture. This is achieved by whipping the shatter under low and even temperatures, allowing for air molecules to enter into the shatter, which creates dense texture forming budder.
Crumble: follows the same set processes as converting shatter into budder but with an extra step. Once the shatter is whipped it is then purged into a vacuum oven at a low temperature, this dry’s it out with the cannabinoid and terpenes remaining intact.
Crystalline: is a semi-transparent concentrate that looks similar to things like sparkling sugar or kosher salt, creating crystalline can be conducted in many ways, following the same basic principles of crystallization. Crystallization is a process when a chemical solid is mixed with a liquid which in turn creates a solution, then to complete the crystalline production you add a new solvent which begins to form pure crystals.
How To Smoke Cannabis Extracts
Smoking cannabis extracts comes in a variety of ways, whether you are adding it into one of your joints, sprinkling it on top of a bowl, vaporizing with a vape pen or using the ever-popular dab rig, there are plenty of options to consume cannabis concentrates. Each method of smoking comes down to the particular texture of the selected concentrates as well as the consumers personal habits of consumption. Some forms of smoking cannabis concentrate are easier than others, the easiest being kief which is found at the bottom of your grinder, this can be sprinkled over top of your dried flower to add an extra kick. Or you can dab concentrates with various mechanisms, but those require a lot more mechanics and set up. Here we’ll look at the list of consumption methods for smoking or vaporizing extracts.
Dabbing is one of the most common ways to consume cannabis extracts, providing the perfect temperature to achieve the full effects THC extracts have to offer. Dabbing is a common practise with the more seasoned smokers due to the specialized hardware. There are many advantages to dabbing as a delivery method, mostly due to the powerful effects you get after each dab. Smoking cannabis extracts can also be one of the clean and more pure options on your lungs, instead of a combustion of hot smoke from smoking flower, extracts eliminate unwanted material while still providing the most important cannabinoids and terpenes. Dabbing is often used for things like wax, shatter, budder and butane hash oil. The process of dabbing requires a few different types of tools to get started:
- First you’ll need a blow torch, this is to ensure the extract is heated to the required heat for the full effects to be benefited in the dab hit.
- Second you’ll need a dab rig or water pipe
- Third you’ll need a nail made of either titanium, quartz or ceramic (usually comes with a rig of water pipe)
- Fourth you need a dabber made from metal of glass, this is used to apply a dab to a hot nail
How to dab
Dabbing using a water pipe of rig requires a few steps, to start you will want to load a dab of your favourtie THC extract onto the dabber and set it to the side. It’s always good to preload the dab so you are ready while the nail is still hot. It’s important to start off small when dabbing, even the smallest amount of extract is more potent then most cannabis flower, so take it easy on your first dab and then gauge how your body handles extracts going forward.
Take your blow torch and heat the nail until it begins to turn red, when it comes to nails made of quartz make sure you don’t overheat of damage will occur. Make sure you are pointing the flame the opposite direction to avoid burning yourself, the optimal temperature range for heating your nail is around 500-800 degrees. When deciding on how hot to heat your nail keep in mind that the hotter your nail is the more the extract will vaporize creating stronger effects, but if you choose a lower temperature the dab will provide more flavor and be a much smoother hit.
After you’ve heated your nail you will then dab your extract onto the hot nail, repeatedly tapping or placing your dabber on the hot area of the nail. While the extracts melts and the vapor begins to fill your rig, you can begin to inhale drawing the vapor through the water and into your lungs.
Vaporizing cannabis has become increasingly popular over the last few years, especially when it comes to consuming extracts. Vaporizers offer a portability and discrete way of smoking cannabis and an easy way to heat up and smoke extracts properly. When vaporizing cannabis extracts vaporizers heat the extract to the point of safe combustion, providing a rich release of cannabinoid vapor that is easily inhaled. Vaporizers contain a heating element known as a atomizer, which when exposed to a cannabis extract is heated to the level of vaporization and not smoke. Most commonly vaporizers pens are used for consuming extracts, these units are extremely popular for their rechargeable batteries, heating element and their ultimate discreetness. There are various types of pens out there that can accommodate various types of extracts such as THC oil, wax and shatter.
Twaxing is when you add a concentrate to cannabis flower. This can be done using various methods such as bowls, bongs and joints. Each concentrate has its own consistency which dictates how it can be added to cannabis flower. Pure concentrates like shatter and budder can be added over top of the bud but needs to be heated up to a honeylike consistency, specifically adding it into the inside of a joint before rolling it up. This will increase the strength and potency of the joint so start slow if this is your first time. Dryer concentrates like kief and rosin can also be applied inside a joint and sprinkled over a bowl of dry cannabis.